Tastebuds, Tolerance, & Taking Care Of Yourself
A word from our Holistic Life Coach, Heather Lawrence:
I recently started a new part time job (that I LOVE) with a local juice company, and in my time selling juice at the farmer's market twice a week, I’ve had enough interactions to make some steady observations about people.
Part of the fun of what I do is giving people samples of the yummy flavors we have bottled each day, while explaining to them the countless health benefits of cold-pressed juice. And as soon as they lift that first sample to their lips, I learn something about the person in front of me—their reactions to what they’re tasting is incredibly telling.
We don’t sweeten our juice, because the naturally occurring sugars in the fruits is deliciously sweet on its own—Mother Nature is funny like that. She doesn't rob us of fun or joy just because we're eating something "healthy," but actually rewards us with a complex rainbow of flavors. Typically when someone tastes a juice they don’t think they’re going to like (AKA anything green) they react with surprise at how palatable it is. “That’s not that bad!” says the sweet, brave woman who squished her face up as she shot it back like it was going to burn.
But almost every shift I work, I’ll have someone come by and taste one of our most popular flavors: pineapple, ginger, turmeric, lime, and cayenne—and right after they take a sip they stick out their tongues, telling me it’s too spicy, too tart, or just not sweet enough for them. When I work with this person, I’ll give them another crowd-pleaser: apple, pineapple, lemon, lemongrass, and basil—again, very popular, and yet somehow, again rejected for not tasting like Juicy Juice (which, for the record, is basically cooked and not at ALL the same kind of sugar that's found in whole fruit. sorry for that, but it's time you know.).
At the same time, people who taste our greens flavors with the least fruit in them will often ask me if I have anything less sweet. They taste our seasonal cranberry flavor and instead of shaking off the pang of its tang, they look at me and tell me it’s deliciously sweet and perfectly balanced.
So what’s the difference between these people? Is it really just a difference in preference?
Actually, I’m completely confident that it’s not. Because when I get strong reactions from people like this, I ask them questions, and here’s what I’ve learned:
Unsurprisingly, the people who can barely tolerate the sweetest, fruitiest flavors have no desire to incorporate more fruits and veggies into their diet. They don’t usually like hearing the healing properties of the individual ingredients, and they almost never let me finish my explanation of the benefits of juicing. The spices and flavors are too much for them to handle because they’re so accustomed to artificial, processed foods. They like the way they eat just fine, thank you.
And the ones who notice the sweetness of the juices right away? Yep—conscious eaters. Sometimes vegans, sometimes paleo, it doesn’t really matter aside from the fact that the flavors of vegetables and herbs are normal for them. They eat to fuel their bodies, and they've gone back to what nature provides to do so. They aren’t overwhelmed by the turmeric because it’s already a normal part of their diet. And they taste the natural sweetness of fruits because they aren't expecting high-fructose corn syrup or aspartame in every drink they put in their hands.
So, the obvious conclusion, then?
We tolerate more of what we taste often.
Not just tolerate, but what we taste even becomes what we expect.
Think about it. You build up a tolerance for spicy foods by adding more and more peppers into your cooking, or ordering “medium” instead of “mild” at the Indian restaurant (shout out to my dad who’s boldly traveled this road with me since my adolescence.)
Pro-tip: You want to learn to like a food that you normally don’t? Chop up that kale or those olives, or even the family-splitting, divisive mushrooms, and sneak them into recipes you already enjoy. Over time, you’ll start to tolerate—and even appreciate—their taste and depth of flavor.
The real zinger of this observation is, of course, that it isn’t just our taste buds that work this way.
It's all of you. It's all of your life.
Whatever you fill your mind with is what you grow an expectation for. Whatever you fill your time with is what you come to expect for your time. The commonplace occurrences stop feeling so unusual or remarkable as you experience them and live them every day, and they become a part of you.
This can be both positive and negative, right?
If you fill your diet with greens and herbs and whole foods, those flavors in a juice are going to taste good and healthy and filling to you.
If you fill your plate with sugar and cheap, hormone-laden meat and vegetable oils, the flavors of real food just might be too overwhelming for your palate.
If you fill your mind with gratitude, acceptance, and laughter, you’ll start to see life as one giant opportunity for those things to take root.
If you fill your mind with anger, resentment, and worry, well, you may often find yourself trapped in the cycle of your own thoughts and feelings.
If you let your spirit fill you with unity, connection, and power, you live a life where those things are all around you, and there is significance in all beauty, goodness, and truth.
If you cut yourself off from your spirit with shame, fear, and self-doubt, you’ll eventually spend your existence frantically answering to those emotions, separated from meaning and fullness of life.
The good news?
The choice is yours. It’s always yours.
These life-giving thoughts and feelings and mindsets are already within you, because that is the Life force that makes you a participant in this crazy, beautiful world we're in. I call it God (I took a break from that for a while, though) but it's okay if you don't. The Universe, Spirit, Great Mystery—I don't think that's quite as important as you tapping into the life and love that literally gave you your existence.
And it can bring you from simply existing into truly being alive.
I had a beautiful experience just today in which I realized that because I chose to be grateful early in the day—and to express it outside of my head often throughout the day—I actually just kept finding more and more things to be grateful for! Gratitude begets gratitude.
Every thought you acknowledge is a chance to change the direction of your day. Every. single. one.
So take care of you, okay? Nourish yourself—body, mind, and spirit—and the world around you will (absolutely WILL) be a better place.
Pursue life today, and leave the rest behind.
Heather Lawrence is a holistic life coach in Nashville, TN. She works with people who are ready to make a change by pursuing life and health in spirit, body, and mind. Her greatest joy in life is seeing others becoming their best selves: happy, healthy, and whole. Find more of her writing and contact information on her website: www.pursuitoflifecoaching.com or follow her on instagram: @TheHeatherLawrence